On Jan. 25, the International Security Assistance Force reported another operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province targeting a Taliban leader associated with al Qaeda. This follows a report three days ago of a similar operation on Jan. 23 in Kunar province that targeted an al Qaeda-linked Taliban leader.
According to the Jan. 25 report, Afghan and Coalition forces succeed in locating the target and killing him on Jan. 24. Alhough it is not clear if he was the same leader targeted in the raid the day before, ISAF identified him as “Wali,” a “Taliban leader and al-Qaeda facilitator.” He was killed in Dangam district, as opposed to Ghaziabad district where the previous raid occurred. Apart from being the second operation targeting al Qaeda in Kunar province in two days, it was also the second this year.
ISAF said that Wali “coordinated activities between the Taliban and al Qaeda within the province.” He also “organized attacks against Afghan and coalition forces” in the district and “oversaw the movement of weapons and suicide vest components.” ISAF revealed to The Long War Journal that Wali was an Afghan national of Pashtun descent.
The previous report said that a joint Afghan and Coalition force conducted an operation in Ghaizabad district, Kunar province on Jan. 23. This raid did not locate the targeted al Qaeda-associated Taliban leader, however, two unidentified insurgents were killed.
Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, has emerged as one of the most active areas of operation for al Qaeda in Afghanistan. According to The Long War Journal‘s investigation of ISAF operations targeting the group within Afghanistan, there were 16 raids targeting members of al Qaeda, or insurgents linked to the group, in Kunar province in 2012. That is more than double the number of raids against al Qaeda in the province that were conducted prior to the surge of NATO forces, according to The Long War Journal study [see LWJ report: Al Qaeda-linked Taliban commander targeted in Kunar raid, for more details on al Qaeda’s continued presence in Kunar province].